A representative of DOWL engineering presented an update on the Near Island Development Plan to the Kodiak City Council at last night’s work session.
DOWL gave them a general overview of the plan including how it began, the process it’s gone through, and its recommended land usage plan. Once the presentation was finished, the council began their discussion on the plan’s current state. Quickly, the conversation turned to the proposed expansion of industrial zoning on Near Island.
Some council members expressed uneasiness about the council endorsing a plan that advocated for expanding industrial zones. Council member John Whiddon was adamant about the need to protect Near Island’s natural beauty.
“For those that have lived here this is that’s a jewel of our community. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. There’s no getting it back.”
Whiddon advised the council be picky when it comes to the kinds of businesses they allow to occupy any of the new industrial areas.
“It’s one thing to be promoting development but I think you have to promote it in a responsible way. So I’d like to see language that doesn’t necessarily constrain growth and development, but is mindful of development that actually enhances the island vs. detracts from it.”
The council agreed that there needs to be more specific language pertaining to the requirements placed on future businesses. The DOWL representative said they could make the necessary revisions to the plan. The council said it will review the changes at a later meeting in September.
If the city council does eventually approve the Near Island Development Plan, that does not mean the zoning on the island will change. The Kodiak Island Borough controls zoning code and any changes need to go through the borough’s formal process.